Chuck E Cheese: A Question of Race in the Least Realistic Band Ever

By: Jacob Lewis

A while ago, I was out on a full day adventure with my eldest daughter. On our ride home we got off the freeway so she could use the bathroom at a nearby Target. She did her business, but as we were leaving I we passed a Chuck E Cheese fun zone. Since it was dinner time I decided that we should keep this party going a little longer and have some pizza and ski ball.

Anyone who’s been to a Chuck E’ Cheese restaurant before knows that one of their keys elements is their center stage with Chuck E’ Cheese. If you’ve never been, each restaurant has a set of robotic versions of Chuck E’ Cheese and friends mounted on a stage and set to perform a pre-recorded musical show once every half hour. The robots in the show were exactly as I remembered them as a kid. Big hulking masses of ratty carpet like fur, robotic joints poking out at inhuman angles, strange jerking dance moves to the songs and mouths completely out of sync with the recordings. However, what I had forgotten, or simply never noticed before, was the strange line up of the Chuck E Cheese gang, which is:

Chucky E Cheese (Rat with Radical circa 1995 Rockstar Personality and Personality and Voice);

Helen Henry (Chicken with Valley Girl Voice and Personality);

Mr. Munch (Purple Abomination with Cookie Monster Voice);

Jasper T. Jowls (Dog with Southern Yokel Personality and Country Singing Voice); and

Pasqually (Italian with Italian Personality and Singing Voice).

“Wait…an Italian?” you ask, “An Italian what?”

Nothing…just some Italian guy.

I don’t understand how these characters connect, and the more I think about it the more perplexing it becomes. Who thought that a good band should be made out of the least threatening cast members from the Island of Dr. Moreau…..and one Italian immigrant. Why is there an old country singer in this collection of radical kids characters…and an Italian. Also, when I say that their look is circa 1990s, I don’t mean that they are wearing clothing that was cool back then. I mean that they are wearing what cereal and toy companies thought was cool back then (sunglasses, multi colored hawaiin shirt, skateboard, everything that just screams “RADICAL!”). The exceptions are Pasqually and Jasper, who have taken the forms of immortal stereotypes that transcend time and probably took the original concept artists about 8 seconds, tops, to create.

Marketing Guy

Well it took weeks, but the mouse finally looks great, the kids are going to find him totally tubular. Now I want this next character to be an Italian chef who…..

 Concept Artist

 Done!

 Marketing Guy

 Wow! That is totally Italian looking. Its like you read my mind!

After further thought, I am able to comprehend a tenuous connection between the cast at a very base level. Italy’s national dish is the Pizza (citation needed) and Chuck E’ Cheese serves what many hobo’s have mistaken for discarded Pizza like discs. However, Pasqually doesn’t fit with the rest of the performers. For example, Jasper T. Jowls could have been some fat Texas guy, but instead he was designed to be a country singing dog with a Texas accent. Likewise, they could have made Pasqually a talking squirrel, or a gorilla or a wombat with a goofy, semi-racist, Italian American accent (“mama mia my pizza, if I don’t a’take it out of a’the oven it will’a burn”). Nope…he’s just Italian.

Rat, Chicken, Monster, Dog and Italian…might as well be the holy trinity of mascot animals.

Now, if they are going to include ethnic stereotypes in the show, I don’t think its fair they should stop with Italians. I imagine a world where Helen Henry is replaced with Yekel – the Jewish token changer:

Chuck E Cheese

Hey Yekel, is there anything you have to say to the birthday boy!

Yekel

Yes, thank you Charles. Little boy, some tokens maybe you have to give Yekel.

Chuck E Cheese

Ha Ha

(Nervous Laughter)

Now Yekel, you know you can’t ask the children for loans.

Yekel

I know, I know Charles. Little boy, you should get the two for one medium pizza special…such savings! Maybe then a piece to share with Yekel you’ll have?

Pasqually

Perhaps we should’a take’a break. Even I’m’a getting offended.

Chuck E Cheese

Yeah..lets…lets just end this.

(looks longingly into the crowd)

I miss Helen Henry.

Mr. Munch

She was pretty angry when she left. Maybe you shouldn’t have forced her to get that aborti…

Chuck E Cheese

FUCK YOU MUNCH! Your not even a real thing. You’re just a lazy sack of shit stained talking carpet.

Mr. Munch

I’m…I’m Armenian. I have a skin condition. You know all this. why do you need to say things like that.

Jasper T Jowls

Well fellas I think its pretty darn clear all of you are goin to hell unless you take Christ into your heart.

Yekel

Little birthday boy, be a menche and get them to put some nice gefilte fish on my slice. Yekel likes to have a little nosh before I start singing Streisand.

I imagine a world where every race and religion is represented in Chuck E’ Cheeses animatronic performances. The dream is truly beautiful, and only vaguely offensive, and all CEC Entertainment needs to make it a reality are the necessary automatons (making sure that the three laws of robotics are installed, I don’t need my daughter torn in half by “Ivan the Delicious” a nine foot tall Russian robot that starts questioning his existence after she asks him how a sunset makes him feel).

Once they have those they need to dress them appropriately (comically large sombreros, gold chains, turbans and payots need to be as authentic as possible) and find the right voice actors to capture the souls of the characters (Carlos Mencia for all of them). Once complete, all they have to do is store them in an inner city bus stop restroom for ten years before immediately transporting them to the nearest Chucky E’ Cheese stage.

And then…well, and then my friends…it’s show time.

 

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